"I understand what the people of Detroit and the city of Detroit meant to me in my time and my career, what they meant to my family. I hope they feel that back, but at the same time I'm not a stranger to the situation and understanding that I'm the bad guy coming to town. "I’m on the other team and they don’t want success for me."
Before the game, Jeanna Trotman of WXYZ in Detroit captured Stafford on the field "taking in Ford Field when it was basically empty.
Ford Field greets Matthew Stafford just as expected (video)
When it comes down to it, Lions' fans can't blame Stafford for asking to be traded as the franchise embarked on another rebuild in 2021. In hindsight, the trade worked out for both teams. Jared Goff has been a fit, and the rebuild has been done quickly with roots in the draft picks that came with Goff in the Stafford trade.
A ridiculous jersey ban is one thing. But when Stafford led his Rams' teammates out of the tunnel, Ford Field greeted him just as should have been expected. If it weren't a playoff game for his first game back in Detroit, it might have been different and little more celebratory about his long career with the Lions. But he's the opponent Sunday night, and in the way of the Lions getting their first playoff win since the 1991 season.
Lions fans also came out with a couple rounds of Jared Goff chants.
Stafford knew he'd be greeted less than warmly by Lions' fans, and it happened. All the pregame stuff is over, and a playoff football game in Detroit has commenced.